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Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Farscape: The Peace Keeper Wars
When Sci-Fi cancelled Farscape a couple of years ago, I was a bit annoyed. OK, I was a lot annoyed. The biggest annoyance was that at the end of season three, Farscape was given a two-year renewal, thus allowing David Kemper and company to plot out the main story arc and how it would unfold over two years. Then, abruptly, Farscape was cancelled and the fans were denied the opportunity to see how it all ended.

Now, finally with Farscape: The Peace Keeper Wars, we get a chance to see the vision for how the series was supposed to end. And the verdict: It wrapped things up pretty well.

Make no mistake. This mini-series was not really designed to convert any novice fans to the universe that is Farscape. In fact, I'd say that any novice fan who tuned in based on the hype or the relentless commericals for the mini-series probably left the first hour of part one utterly confused and scratching their head in bewilderment. The mini-series wasted very little time with trying to explain who we are, where we are and why, but instead was content to plow forward, full-speed into trying to cram a 22-episode final season into four hours of screen time.

The remarkable thing is--they did it.

If you're a fan of the series, then this was as close to Farscape nirvana as you can get. An eloquent, wonderful and satifsying end to the series all the while leaving the door open to more adventures. This is what the series finale should have been and I'm thankful that the fans created so much positive publicity to give the mini-series the green light.

The mini-series quickly put Crichton and Aeryn back together, literally, and then plunged forward into the rapidly growing war between the PeaceKeepers and the Scarrans. Once again, it's nice to know that the entire universe revolves around John Crichton. Within hours of his coming back from the dead, the PeaceKeeper and the Scarrans have shown up, trying to take him prisoner and force the knowledge of how to build wormhole weapons out of his head. There was a great sense of the inevitability of the situation throughout the mini-series. Despite Crichton and company's best efforts to find another way, every door kept closing on them. There were moments in this one that felt a lot like some of the season two episodes of Babylon Five, when forces worked against the characters attempts to desparately avoid a long, bloody war.

The focus on the mini-series is on Cricthon and Aeryn. All they really want is to get married and start raising their family. It's just the universe has other ideas. Other factions want Crichton and his wormhole knowledge for their own purposes--the destruction of their enemies. There is also a focus on wrapping up the series in a satisfying way while leaving the door open to possibly more adventures should ratings warrant such a return. (I hope they do, but honestly, I'm kind of happy now with how it all ended).

Along the way, we got appearances by just about everyone who was important to the Farscape storyline over the years, except for Zhaan (was it just me or did anyone expect to see her appear to Crichton as he lay in bed, following the aftermath the ancients taking the knowledge from his mind?). We got Grusleg and the alien healer from "Die Me Dichotomy" and Jothee from seasons two and three, we had Jool, Noranti and Stark all make appearances--Stark was actually pretty well utilized in the mini-series after not really contributing much in season three. It was a nice roll call of familiar faces and probably one that would have confused the heck out of first-time viewers.

The mini-series also brought what they were trying to do in season four into focus. I wasn't a huge fan of "What Was Lost" because we never got any payoff to it. Now, we see why it was so important and what they were setting up. On one hand, it might have been nice to see the storyline of running from planet to planet to try and create the new peace influencing aliens over the course of a season, but then again, in the mini-series there was a sense of urgency, especially as events slowly spiralled out of control.

There's a sense in these four hours of inevitablity. It was inevitable that Crichton would create the wormhole weapon, it's inevitable that he'd use it. It was inevitable that D'Argo would sacrfice himself (in one of the more truely moving on-screen deaths in quite a while). It was inevitable that Crichton would give everyone the choice between peace and utter destruction so he could raise his son in a universe ruled by peace. One thing Farscape has excelled at over the years is creating tough situations for the characters and not giving them an easy way out. And there was no easy way out here.

Thankfully, things all worked out for the best. I had heard rumors that some of the characters wouldn't survive. I was struck by how moving and well-done D'Argo's death was. I was also on the edge of my seat, wondering if Crichton would live until the final few moments when he tells his son the universe is his playground.

That said, there were some things to the mini-series that didn't quite ring true. The fact that Sikosu turns out to be a Scarran spy came out of left field too much. It also makes Scorpius look a bit stupid to trust her so implicitly, making her his right hand woman only to have her be the traitor. We get some sense that Scorpius suspected long before he called her on it, but why would he keep her that close. Also, why would the Scarrans keep her prisoner on their ship with the rest of them? I just didn't quite get the logic of this one, other than we needed a spy and we didn't want it to be one of our familiar friends from the crew.

Also, as nice a moment as it was for Pilot to tell Crichton that he and Moya built the weapon because they trust him, it might have been better that they did it for he and Aeryn. Pilot and Aeryn share a special bond, as we've seen detailed many times before. To see Pilot argue that they did this for Crichton and his family might have been a bit more effective.

But, in the end, my overall feeling is one of satisfaction. I'm far happier with the entire Farscape saga being resolved in this way. As much as I'd like to see more, it'd be just icing on the cake. This was great ending to a great show.

On a related note, Saturday's FoxTrot addressed the mini-series...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/19/2004 09:36:00 AM | |
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